GIFTS is a revolutionary hyperspectral sounder designed to significantly improve our ability to observe weather phenomena, leading to improved forecast accuracy. Developed for NASA’s New Millennium Program (NMP) Earth Observing-3 (EO-3) program, GIFTS combines years of work by engineers and scientists at the UW-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center, Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Lab, and NASA Langley Research Center.

Described as the next major advance for monitoring severe weather and atmospheric motions, GIFTS is an FTS with programmable spectral resolution and spatial scene selection. With its significantly higher spectral resolution, GIFTS will provide unprecedented detail, far superior to the measurements available on current geos tationary sounders; GIFTS will offer data from 1724 channels compared to 19 channels on the current GOES. Such a hyperspectral sounder on a geostationary platform will dramatically improve our ability to monitor storms and hurricanes through their complete life cycle. Better monitoring will lead to greater understanding of their atmospheric dynamics as well as to more accurate predictions and warnings.

GIFTS embodies the research and prototype demonstration of an efficient and effective way to realize improved capabilities in a future geostationary hyperspectral sounder. Through thermal vacuum testing and rigorous IR calibration activities, GIFTS has already shown it possible to meet the next generation geosynchronous sounding requirements.  The insight gained from GIFTS should be incorporated into future hyperspectral sounders, if not applied to general remote sensing instrumentation.